Breaking Your Boundaries

I’ve pondered and procrastinated about this project.

I was going to take some of my large work and place it in my friend’s restaurant and ask people to comment on it. However, I can’t be there to people watch or to interact and when I re-read the brief “Your work will reflect your choice of site for display…” I realised I was completely barking up the wrong tree. I thought Caroline and I discussed the location NOT influencing the piece – which I thought was a bit bonkers at the time – so I’ve had a rethink.

I had my second BYB group meet on Monday and we had a chat about what we would need to do – we need a substantial amount of feedback to analyse. It was unlikely that my first idea was going to do that, or was fit for purpose.

We spoke about the fact that many of the things we SHOULD be doing for this would make us uncomfortable. That is sort of the point of the project. And that it didn’t matter how large the audience should be if they gave good quality feedback.

In passing we then started to speak about the Absolute Magnitude exhibition and I said how I had really enjoyed making a postcard sized piece. At the time I had contemplated making an actual postcard in a ‘wish you were here’ stylee.

I then remembered a conversation Caroline had with me about canvassing opinions about my work (seems she spoke to several people about this idea). She suggested making 5 items with not much intrinsic value and sending them off to people to canvas responses. So I wondered about expanding that and making it into a mailing. Possibly like a chain letter.

I have 5 friends that I could kick off with. However, they are very likely to give a response (however hard they try) that will be clouded by knowing me as a person. So I thought about asking them to pass a piece onto someone they know (bit like Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack – but without the growth factor). In that way the knowledge of me will be removed, but they are likely to respond because their/my friend has asked them and the response can be more honest.

I will also ask them to photograph it in a setting they think is most appropriate (if possible) and email that with their response to me at a specific email address.

I think I will then ask them to pass it on to someone they know – so making a chain letter. If they really like it, they can keep it – to do so though, they might have to fulfil another criteria – such as photographing the final piece wherever they decided to put it.

I will put the questions on the back of each postcard along with the email address.

Is it good to give stuff away? We talked about this in our meet – and I can’t see why not. It makes me uncomfortable – so maybe I have to break my attachments to pieces. I think it is OK. Not like they are going to be a Sistine Chapel roof! Only small, and probably not too much value or effort. And anyway I have to make the effort anyway for the project. As long as it is well documented, I can’t see why this would be an issue in terms of no longer having the pieces.

I have chosen postcards because of the way they are embedded into our psyches and attached to memory. 9/10 you buy a postcard to remind you of somewhere you visited. I would like to see if anyone associates something from their own memory with something that has come from mine.


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